It is that time of year again. The leaves are turning yellow, football season has commenced, and the Pumpkin Spice latte is back on the Starbucks menu. That means trip into the wine cellar, after all, the appeal of any wine is subject to change with the seasons. It’s time to rethink our everyday wine selection for the cooler days and nights.
Cooler weather calls for bolder, more robust reds. I don’t even mind slightly higher levels of alcohol, for warming the toes can be just as important as warming the soul; and the bigger reds are generally more suitable with fall and winter dishes, earthy mushroom sauces, roasted meats and tasty root vegetables.
Spanish wines are increasingly popular for this transitional season. Once perceived as a source of inexpensive wines with an envious price-quality ratio, Spain has become increasingly sought out for the quality of its wines and many are fetching high prices. Savvy wine consumers, once attracted by price are now attracted by the quality level of Spanish wines as well.
Spanish wines are naturally great with the broad spectrum of Spanish traditional cuisines and many of them work well with ultra-modern dishes and cooking techniques inspired by Spanish chefs. But the real revelation is the ability of these wines to match well with a range of cuisines just as the wines of France, California, Italy, and Australia do. Tempranillo-based wines from la Rioja range from lighter, well-aged reservas and gran reservas to the winemaker stars--dark, concentrated wines made from single vineyards or old vines.
Whether they come from the cooler up-river Duero Valley Ribera de Burgos area, or from the much warmer downriver areas in Valladolid province, Ribera del Duero’s tinto fino, or tempranillo-based, wines are the perfect choice for their warm and dusty characteristics. This variety of wines goes well with a wide array of foods, from tapas to the sophisticated modern cuisines. Think of Tempranillo as Pinot Noir in blue jeans—it’s great with just about anything that calls for glass of good red wine, including pizza, pasta, steaks, and game dishes.
As your menu changes to reflect fall flavors, your wine list should, too.
So what Spanish reds work for the fall?